Generous Benefactor and Longtime Friend of the College Florence Sponberg Dies

Posted on September 29th, 2014 by

Florence Sponberg (1917-2014)

Former Trustee, generous benefactor, and longtime friend of the College, Florence Sponberg, passed away at her North Mankato home on Saturday, Sept. 27, at the age of 97.

Florence was an ardent supporter of education as well as peace and social justice issues. Florence and her late husband, Raymond ’37 (1914-2000), endowed more than two dozen scholarships at several high schools and colleges with which they had connections, including Gustavus.

In 1981, the Sponbergs made a generous gift to Gustavus to help establish the MAYDAY! Peace Conference, which has become a signature event of the College. In 1989, the Sponbergs significantly enhanced the College’s academic program by establishing the Sponberg Chair in Ethics, which is currently held by English professor Florence Amamoto. Other buildings and programs at Gustavus that benefitted from the Sponberg’s generosity included Lund Center, Nobel Hall, Gustavus Library Associates, Linnaeus Arboretum, Peace Studies Program, Christ Chapel Endowment, Habitat for Humanity, the Gustavus Adolphus College Association of Congregations Scholarship Fund, and many others.

Florence served as a member of the College’s Board of Trustees from 1986 until 2003. She received an honorary degree from the College at the 2004 MAYDAY! Peace Conference, while she and Raymond were awarded the Greater Gustavus Award for a lifetime of service and support of the College in 1981.

Florence is survived by four children, who are all graduates of Gustavus: Michael Sponberg ’65, Miriam (Steven) Kagol ’67, Elaine (Morris) Larson ’72, and Ann (Gregory) Peterson ’83.

A visitation will be offered at Northview-North Mankato Mortuary from 4-7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 1. The memorial service celebrating Florence’s life will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 2 at Grace Lutheran Church in Mankato. An extended obituary is available on the Star Tribune website.


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin


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